In February I flew to California to care for my cousin JoAnne who had a stem cell transplant. Her brother's wife (a quilter) also came which meant I'd get in some quilt shopping. After 3 exciting weeks, during which JoAnne was bitten by a dog which meant a ride to the ER, and some very warm and wonderful weather, I came home.
This is me, my cousin JoAnne and her brothers' wives at the Harbor. Above is JoAnne in her adorable wig.
At home, I went to the New Ulm Quilt Guild's show which was fantastic. This is one of Gladys Raschka's quilts that her daughters displayed during a show and tell. Their quilt shop, Glad Creations is one of the oldest in Minneapolis and is a great destination for quilters.
Keeping this about quilting, I finished a redwork sunbonnet quilt for a new baby in the family.
Then Easter when our church alter becomes the tomb. This always intrigued me as a child and today the children in the church all line up in their finery in front of it to get their picture taken.
On the 23rd of April, we left for the Czech Republic with our son and his wife for a 3 week trip. This was at the hotel in Probrady where we stayed the first two nights. Since Pobrady is a spa town the hotel featured a spa where we got a massage the last evening.
After a long ride, we reached Podivin, a stop on our way to Italy. This is a typical Czech dinner of pork, dumplings and sauerkraut. I had a glass of wine before dinner and that's when the trouble started. My arms and legs felt like rubber and by the time the meal was over, I couldn't walk. I was certain that I had too much to drink.
By three in the morning, my husband noticed that one side of my mouth was drooping and we decided that I had had a stroke. My entire right side was affected as I couldn't walk or use my right hand.
Carol, the leader of our trip and her friend took us to a hospital early in the morning where they admitted me. No one except the doctors spoke English. They administered several tests which confirmed the diagnosis.
Carol, who spoke Czech, shown here in her stylish hospital gown, decided to stay with me while the group continued to Italy with Honza, the driver who spoke no English. I was greatly relieved. The first night, Carol was on the phone with Honza who was driving through a horrific snow storm in the Austrian Alps. Finally she took a sleeping pill from the nurse and we went to sleep.
One of the funniest things that happened was when the nurse came in to ask a question and my husband was there. He had her speak into his iPad on Google Translate. It translated to "did you sit on the big white table". It meant, "did I go to the bathroom". Everything takes more words in Czech!
I was certain that I would recover and continue on the trip and the 2nd day the physical therapist arrived to help me. She was a lovely young woman who spoke English and she ordered me out of bed where she and her colleague started me walking. I asked for a walker and she shook her head. She told me to eat with my right hand which was very difficult.
This is the doctor (a neurologist) who spoke English and who told me I couldn't continue on the trip. He would only release me to another hospital! I found this very upsetting!
By Saturday, I could slowly walk on my own and I was knitting. Carol left with the others on the trip and my husband, Jim got the other bed in the room. Because we had evacuation insurance for situations like this, my husband arranged for us to go home.
A nurse arrive early Monday morning and we left in the dark for Vienna where we started our journey home.
We flew first class all the way to Minneapolis and I was admitted to the hospital in Mankato. After tests there, they told me that I had a tumor on my aortic valve that was keeping it from closing. It was parts of the tumor that were breaking off and causing my stroke. They advised me to go to the Mayo Clinic for evaluation.
On May 18th I had the tumor removed and a single bypass (since the surgeon was in there). I vaguely remember the time I spent in the ICU, but I remember the angel of a nurse I had the first night!
After 2 1/2 days in the ICU I was moved to my room. I cannot say enough about the care and compassion I received from the staff at St. Marys. Everyone has a smile on their face. After a bout of a fib and a collapsed lung, I went home in a week.
In the picture you can see, I finally got a walker!
One of the reasons I had the surgery right away (besides preventing the tumor from causing more strokes) was that we had rented a cabin up north for a week with our family. Four weeks from the date of my surgery, we drove up to lake Vermillion. There were 5 recliners in the living room and cable TV. That's where I planted myself along with my grandchildren and daughter-in-law. Doing nothing is really hard for someone who likes to be busy, but I had no trouble here. I was feeling better in no time! We did bind some quilts however!
Toward the end of the week, my husband took me out fishing on a beautiful day!
What can I say? I am so grateful that I can walk and sew and do so many things. Writing is still difficult for me but I think that is because we don't do it so much anymore. I am also humbled by all the cards, visits and meals that people brought as well as my husband's support.
The only bit of advice I have is to encourage you to enjoy every day since you never know what's around the corner.